Boost for British pork as £50m trade deal announced
4th September 2021
British farmers and food producers are set to benefit from access to a valuable new market, as Mexico has now officially opened its doors to British pork for the first time. British exporters can now tap into this brand-new market, which boasts high demand for high quality pork meat.
The new market could provide a boost to pig farmers around the UK, who are currently facing significant problems will low output prices and increasing input prices.
Global UK pork exports were worth over £421 million to the economy in 2020, reaching 75 export markets worldwide. According to the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board, access to the Mexican market alone is estimated to be worth £50 million to UK pork producers over the first five years of trade.
Speaking on the announcement of the deal Defra Secretary of State George Eustice said: “It is great to see another market open its doors to high quality, high welfare UK produce.
“Access to the Mexican market, with its substantial demand for high-quality pork, will be a welcome boost for our pig farmers and producers.
“This is a significant development, which will reinforce our global reputation for quality food and drink.”
As a world leader in animal welfare, UK pork is globally recognised for its provenance, quality and traceability. Through the GREAT Britain & Northern Ireland campaign, the UK government aims to raise the international profile and reputation of food and drink from across the UK and help more food and drink companies export their produce abroad.
The announcement of the deal follows over four years of negotiations and inspections. The Mexican National Department for Health, Safety and Agricultural and Food Quality (SENASICA) inspected numerous premises throughout the UK during a visit which occurred in February 2020, which led to a decision to approve four processing facilities and four associated cold stores in England and Wales.
UK Deputy Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr Richard Irvine, said: “The UK is proud of our high standards of food safety and the quality of food we are able to produce.
“Gaining access for the export of British pork to Mexico represents yet another success for British Industry and continues to enhance our global reputation for excellence.”
The UK and Mexico have committed to begin negotiating a new and ambitious free trade agreement this year, with hopes that this is just the first step in what could be a very beneficial relationship.
International Trade Secretary Liz Truss said:“This is a huge win for our farmers and food producers and I look forward to seeing high-quality British pork being enjoyed in Mexico very soon.
“British businesses can look forward to the benefits of a new and ambitious trade agreement with Mexico which we will be negotiating this year, and wins like these are an important step towards our accession to CPTPP that will see our global trade hit new heights.”
The news has been welcomed across the farming community, at a time when the outlook for pig farmers looks bleak. The industry is currently being affected by crippling staff shortages with thousands of pigs being stuck on farm. The news that British produce has passed such high scrutiny, and is desired across the world will give a morale boost to producers.
AHDB International Market Development Director Dr Phil Hadley described the announcement as “a fantastic boost for the UK’s pork industry and offers another potential export market for our red meat during a challenging year.
“Pork from the UK is trusted and favoured worldwide due to its exceptional quality, high welfare and food safety standards. This new approval will offer a wealth of opportunities for our exporters and is a testament to the hard work of industry and government to open new markets as we look to the future.”
Pork will join a broad range of livestock genetics that the UK already successfully exports to Mexico. Access for bovine embryos was secured in 2020, joining bovine semen, a market worth over £130,000 annually over the last five years. Consequently, our high-quality cattle breeds are helping to develop Mexican herds. In addition, we have a well-established ovine genetics export market from the UK, with award-winning rams and ewes being bred in Mexico.